Governor of Kebbi state, Abubakar Bagudu says Nigeria has made significant progress over the past 13 years in ensuring provision of cancer diagnosis, treatment and cure in rural areas to alleviate the burden of cost on patients.
Bagudu stated this in Abuja while participating in the five kilometer walk to crush cancer, organized by Medicaid Cancer Foundation.
He explained that government is taking up commendable initiatives for cancer support such as the Indigent Fund by Kebbi state government and the Federal Government’s Catastrophic Cancer Fund, which President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly have approved.
Bagudu expressed optimism that keeping up the pace at which cancer related issues are being addressed, Nigeria will in a few years have a better standing in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“We have to appreciate that in the last 13 years, advocacy in Nigeria has increased significantly. And one of the major advocates as we all appreciate is Dr. Zainab Bagudu who has been crowned with directorship of the United International Cancer Control body because of the pioneering and commendable work she has done.
“And in addition to drawing attention, she has mobilized a lot of companies that are in cancer treatment to come and support and make medicine available in different locations. Sometimes, the cost of travelling alone is enough to bankrupt a family. So making screening, diagnosis and some medication available at the lower levels haven even in itself made significant impact.”
Governor Bagudu also spoke about milestones that have been achieved in Nigeria.
He noted that if the current strides are sustained and new innovations developed and implemented, Nigeria would have attained an enviable position in cancer diagnosis, treatment and care in no distant future.
“The creation of Cancer Registries like in Kebbi state which Her Excellency led and created, and also in Kebbi we have an Indigent Fund that was again by her pioneering work to mobilise money to support the indigent who are affected with cancer, which has led to at the national level adoption of the Catastrophic Cancer Fund. Which for the first time in our history, President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly agreed to provide funding where eligible indigent beneficiaries will be assisted.
“This is again in addition to treatment centres that are coming up in Nigeria supported by Federal Government and private initiatives. So yes, it will still remain a challenge but in the last we have seen significant progress and with such trajectory, we believe Nigeria will be in a few years be in a very comfortable position.”
Represented by Dr. Mairo Almakura, wife of President, Aisha Buhari emphasized the need for Nigerians to inculcate the habit of regular checks and tests to enable early dictation of cancer cases.
Also speaking, Wife of Kebbi state Governor, Zainab Bagudu explained the annual walk has come through a period of nine years, registering visible policy changes and increased societal awareness.
The 2021 Medicaid Annual Cancer Walk was attended by thousands of Nigerians from across the country.